BBC apologises for covering up failings over Diana interview

(Photo: BBC)

The British Broadcasting Commission (BBC) is apologizing for its method of securing the Martin Bashir 1995 interview with Diana, Princess of Wales.

An inquiry into the interview found that BBC “fell short of the high standards of integrity and transparency which are its hallmark”.

The report found that Bashir deceived Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, by showing him fake documents to gain his trust so he would introduce him to Diana.

It said Bashir had lied when he told BBC managers he had not shown the fake documents to anyone. The report described significant parts of Bashir’s account of the events of 1995 as “incredible, unreliable, and in some cases dishonest”.

In a statement, Bashir apologised for mocking up the documents, but said he remained “immensely proud” of the interview.

Meanwhile, the BBC said the report showed “clear failings” and: “We are very sorry for this.”

 “Although the report states that Diana, Princess of Wales, was keen on the idea of an interview with the BBC, it is clear that the process for securing the interview fell far short of what audiences have a right to expect. We are very sorry for this. Lord Dyson has identified clear failings,” The BBC’s director general, Tim Davie said.

“While today’s BBC has significantly better processes and procedures, those that existed at the time should have prevented the interview being secured in this way.

“The BBC should have made greater effort to get to the bottom of what happened at the time and been more transparent about what it knew.

“While the BBC cannot turn back the clock after a quarter of a century, we can make a full and unconditional apology. The BBC offers that today.”